Satellite data helps protect Southeast Asian rice farmers’ livelihood
Satellite data helps protect Southeast Asian rice farmers’ livelihood | Insurance Business
Satellite-supplied data monitoring over 15 million hectares of land used for rice farming helps protect farmers’ livelihood, allowing insured farmers to be quickly compensated in case of crop losses.
Rice is the world’s most widely cultivated food item and close to 90% of this crop is grown in Asia, making it a staple food for the populace and the main source of income for farmers in the region. However, frequent natural disasters, such as floods and droughts, can wipe out entire harvests.
Allianz Re, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), software company Sarmap SA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) agreed in 2013 to found an initiative to assist rice farmers and governments in safeguarding rice harvests using satellite data.
The program, which is now operational, has synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites scanning 15 million hectares of rice farmland in several Southeast Asian countries, namely Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. SAR technology documents the time of planting, the area under cultivation, rice plant growth patterns, and the anticipated yield.
SAR also allows early detection of droughts and floods, helping authorities to respond quickly and permits agricultural insurers to release claims quickly, as it removes the need for an insurance employee to inspect the farmland for damage. With decreased waiting time, farmers have quicker access to funds and greater financial security.